Vibrant purple potatoes taste like the commonplace white- and yellow-fleshed varieties and they work just as well in traditional potato dishes such as mashed potatoes. There are two basic types of purple and blue potatoes: small, waxy spuds and larger, mealier all-purpose spuds. Determine which variety of purple potatoes to use based on the consistency you desire for your mash. And consider how vibrant you want the final dish to be; some purple spuds yield deep-purple mashes while others are lavender after you prepare them.
Waxy Fingerling and New Potatoes
Many purple and blue potatoes in U.S. supermarkets are small 1- to 2-inch round "new potatoes," which is a generic term for any type of potato harvested before it reaches maturity. Produce distributors frequently package them in new-potato trios that also contain red- and white-skinned spuds. Purple fingerling varieties are available in some supermarkets and most natural food stores. Both types typically are very small, although some oblong fingerlings may be longer than 3 inches. New potatoes and fingerlings are waxy, low-starch spuds, which means they yield denser, stick-to-your-ribs mashed potatoes.
Purple Waxy Potato Varieties
Purple Peruvian fingerling potatoes are small, elongated spuds with dark-purple skin and flesh. They yield a deep lavender or purple mash. Adirondack blue potatoes have brownish-purple skin and purple flesh that yield lavender mashed potatoes. Any small, round purple potato that is about 1-inch long or labeled a new potato -- such as the blue potatoes in red, white and blue trios -- likely has the qualities of waxy spuds regardless of the characteristics true to their varieties when mature.
Larger purple and blue potatoes -- about 3 to 5 inches long -- typically are all-purpose potatoes, which have moderate levels of starch. This is the same category of potatoes to which familiar Yukon golds belong, so you may expect their textures and consistencies to be similar. All-purpose potatoes are less firm and easier to mash than waxy spuds, so they yield fluffier mashes than new potatoes and fingerlings.
Purple All-Purpose Potato Varieties
Purple majesty potatoes have dark-purple skin and flesh that yield a purple mash. They also have a buttery flavor, which is perfect for mashed potatoes. All blue potatoes have dark-purple skin and purple-and-white-marbled flesh that becomes paler when you cook them, yielding a soft lavender-hued mash. Royal blues, purple Vikings and caribes have purple skin and white or yellow flesh. They yield white mashes that contain streaks of purple if you leave the skins intact.
Cooking Methods That Preserve Color
Steaming or microwaving purple-fleshed potatoes preserves the colors of the skin and flesh more effectively than boiling them. The flesh often becomes less vibrant and grayer regardless of the cooking method, which is why some potatoes with deep-purple flesh yield lavender mashes. Steam potatoes whole or cut into chunks until they are fork tender. Microwave potatoes in a dish or bowl tightly covered with plastic wrap until they are tender, approximately 10 minutes. Cut a vent in the plastic so steam can escape.
Mashing Purple Potatoes
Prepare purple mashed potatoes as you would white or yellow potatoes. Keep in mind that cream, milk, cream cheese, sour cream and any other creamy, opaque dairy ingredients may lighten the color of the finished mash if you used purple-fleshed spuds; dairy will not alter the color of purple skins in the mash.
- Culinary Institute of America: Potato Types
- The Complete Book of Potatoes; Hielke De Jong, Joseph B. Sieczka and Walter De Jong
- Photo Credit martiapunts/iStock/Getty Images
Creamy Mashed Potatoes Recipe
Whether you plan on serving them at your Thanksgiving table or for dinner this week, make perfect mashed potatoes with this no...
How to Grow a Purple Potato
Despite their exotic looks, growing purple potatoes (Solanum tuberosum, sometimes Solanum tuberosum andigenum) is similar to growing most other types of potato....
How to Cook Purple Majesty Potatoes
Purple majesty is a speciality type of midseason potato. Referred to as a purple potato because of its deep purple exterior, it...
What Are the Best Potatoes for Mashed Potatoes?
A spud that contains more starch is the best choice for the light, fluffy mashed potatoes many Americans prefer. But a potato...
Russet Potato Vs. White Potato
If you’re craving the perfectly crisp french fry or a smooth, creamy potato salad, the first step is choosing the right potato....
Purple Potato Varieties
Potatoes are an easy-growing tuber and are adaptable to a number of climates. All potatoes in production today are one genetic species,...
Thanksgiving Recipe for Mashed Yams
Mashed yams at Thanksgiving are a traditional staple of the family meal, but can often be too sweet. Learn how to create...